Assoc Prof Jim Smart, Prof David Peetz, Assoc Prof Susan Harris Rimmer, Prof Rebecca Ford, and Riley Theidecke

GOAL BUSTERS – Transforming Our World Lightning Talks transformed Nathan Library into a people’s forum for Griffith Sustainability Week on Thursday September 5 and proved again world changing powers at play when library staff and Griffith researchers to save the world.

Assoc Prof Jim Smart, Prof Rebecca Ford, Prof David Peetz, Assoc Prof Susan Harris Rimmer, and Griffith student Riley Theidecke proved that Griffith “ain’t afraid of no goals” by setting out how their research tackles the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs for short) and what actions they are taking to create peace and prosperity for the people and the planet now, and into the future.

Goal 2

Zero Hunger. Food security researcher Rebecca Ford highlighted the standard has moved (in the right direction!) from ‘adequate nutrition’ to ‘ongoing access to the right nutrition’. But with an expected world population of 10 billion by 2025 how can we ensure this?

Goal 5

Gender equality. In this era of hard men leaders Susan Harris Rimmer argued that although we are seeing gratifying progress relating to gender on the international stage, there are changes in other directions such as criminalizing homosexuality in some countries, and things could change so quickly.

Goal 13

Climate Action. Despite climate change being the core problem of our generation, there is still extreme gender bias at the highest levels, and the decision making tables. Interestingly, while there is desire for action for this common objective, groups don’t often talk to each other.

One of the highlights of the event was inviting student participation – Griffith Business School entrepreneurship student Riley Thiedecke has developed FarmCube, a vertical hydroponic 40 foot shipping container for developing countries with low soil quality. FarmCube was one of the top 6 qualifying teams for the prestigious Hult Prize in 2019.

Prof David Peetz

David is a professor of employment relations at the Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing here at Griffith University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia as well as the author of Unions in a Contrary World (1998) and Brave New Workplace (2006) and co-author of Women of the Coal Rushes (2010), in addition to numerous other academic articles, papers and reports.

Assoc Prof Susan Harris Rimmer

Susan is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the Griffith Law School. She is an Adjunct Reader at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University and a Research Associate at the Development Policy Centre in the Crawford School. She is a non-resident Research Associate at Chatham House in the UK. Susan’s Future Fellow project is called ‘Trading’ Women’s Rights in Transitions: Designing Diplomatic Interventions in Afghanistan and Myanmar.

Prof. Rebecca Ford

Rebecca develops novel tools for selective breeding to improve the sustainability and security of “plant-derived” food production systems. This is achieved through the mitigation of biotic and abiotic factors that impact yield and quality and the optimisation of resource inputs used for their management. In particular, Rebecca is researching the application of next generation sequencing and transcriptomics to understand salinity and drought tolerance mechanisms, fungal pathogen population dynamics and the genetic pathways enabling fungal pathogen resistances in temperate legume and broad acre crops.

Riley Theidecke

Riley was part of the 2019 Top 6 qualifying team in the Hult Prize with their development of the modular farming project FarmCube. The annual Hult prize competition is in partnership with the Hult International Business School, the Clinton Foundation and the United Nations Foundation. Riley and the team’s challenge was to solve a social problem related to the sustainability goals outlined by the UN. FarmCube was shortlisted for Build the foundations of a venture that will provide meaningful work for 10,000 youth within the next decade.


FarmCube integrates current vertical hydroponic technology within a closed loop, insulated and climate controlled refurbished 40-foot shipping container. The design and technology allow for innovation and the establishment of micro infrastructure (SDG 9) in geographically challenged areas. Through the power of modular farming FarmCube hopes to reduce poverty (SDG 1) and hunger (SDG 2) within these areas. Furthermore, FarmCube provides access to decent work and economic growth (SDG 8). FarmCube aims to achieve all this whilst leverage a learning base business model that provides quality transferable education (SDG 4) at every step of the supply chain.

Wanna see some more goal busting action? Stream the whole talk and see the live tweets on our Twitter.